Where Homosexuality Is the Norm

If you're interested in licensing this or any other Big Think clip for commercial or private use, contact our licensing partner Executive Interviews: /> In New Guinea and the Amazon, it is common and culturally acceptable for men to have sex with men. Question: Where is homosexuality completely accepted? Ted Fischer: How love is manifested varies greatly from culture to culture. And we, I think, often think of our way as the only way, or the best way, or the natural way, and yet it's not. And this is really the power of anthropology is showing us we naturally think the way we do things is best very often. And looking around the world and saying, "Oh, among the Sambia in New Guinea they form homosexual bonds between men and also have husbands and wives." That's a different way of configuring families. A different way of configuring love. And it opens up the range of possibility for us to reconsider the way in which we do things. And it doesn't mean we have to adopt somebody else's pattern, but just knowing that we construct this world in which we live, and if we want to we can change it. There are few notable cases around the world. Among Plains Indians before contact and even shortly after contact, there was a recognized; sometimes it's called a third gender. So men who would feel like they are truly women, and they would dress as women, and the they would take male husbands, and very much a pattern of romantic love, falling in love, marrying, not having children, of course but still living as husband and wife. So that's one pattern that we find in a few cultures around the world. More often, interestingly, of men feeling that they should be women. A few cases that we find of women feeling that they should be men and dressing as men, but that seems to be more transgressive for cultures in some way. So that's one pattern. Question: Are women sexually shunned in any cultures? Ted Fischer: Another pattern that we find, especially, in New Guinea and in the Amazon region are men forming very strong bonds between themselves, and sometimes this is sexual as well as platonic. And in these cultures a very deep suspicion of women. Women is seen polluting, as dangerous, as someone who would suck a man's life blood out of them, and so in these cultures there's still heterosexual bonds, and heterosexual relationships and that's the norm. And yet it's seen as dangerous. And men feel more comfortable in the men's house where only men can go. And for example, among the Sambia of New Guinea that involves -- it involves sexual relations. So young boys are taught about sex by having oral sex with older men. And very -- and sometimes -- and then they're expected then to go through this progression of having sexual relations with older men, then having sexual relationships with younger men, and then becoming heterosexual, choosing a wife and living with that wife and having children. Very often it's hard for these men to make that transition to heterosexuality because women are scary, and they don't want to be too polluted by women. So that's interesting for this notion that heterosexually is natural. It probably is. I mean, most of the Sambia don't want to continue with these homosexual relations for the rest of their lives. Some of them do and resist pairing up with a woman. But even for the ones who want to be with women, it's a hard transition because they've learned a different kind of sex. But those are the exceptions around the world. In most cultures around the world heterosexuality is the norm, and not only the norm, but the, you know, the very clearly the norm that other sorts of love are looked down upon. But this changes over time. I mean, there were -- we can talk about ancient Rome. We could also talk about times in the United States or in western European history where homosexuality wasn't accepted but it also was, it was kind of a screaming secret. There were, you know, spinsters who lived together, or men who liked men, and you wouldn't talk about it in polite company, but it was one of those things we know it goes on and we just won't talk about it. So we've seen homosexuality even in cultures such as our own that have and even in the very recent past had strong prohibitions against homosexual love. Evolutionarily we would expect, and then if there is an evolutionary basis for it, we would expect that it would have evolved to promote male/female bonding. It just makes evolutionary sense. But it doesn't mean, I mean, the beauty of humans is we've evolved these huge brains so that we're not slaves to our biology any more. We're not automatons. We, again, we create our forms of love. We make love. If we can use that as a phrase. And so we can make love in different sorts of ways.

Anders Liljevall
When I read some comments here I feel transported to medieval Times and sometimes to victorian England and sometimes to nazi germany. It is like a time Machine.
So that's why them call them Headhunters.
Travis Keeton
There is a lot of homosexual activities or at least desire for it among man but it is hidden
This got recommended... Must be because Valentine's has just passed.
Robert Burke III
Just keep justifying what you want to do it's happened a hundred times before would same in every time but I think we might be surprised at the the next end
Admiral BirdCrap
Scott Pool
Exactly I agree completely with the man thank you for your honest opinion I like it👏👏👏👏
Rashid Ahmad
The volume of voice/sound is inaudible. I can not hear what he is saying. Please rectify it or delete it.
Ronnie Caron
Stuff i heard while eavesdropping at cocktail parties when i was a kid. He's a "confirmed bachelors" Haha! Unmarried Jack, who went back to teach at his old boarding schools. "He"s dedicated to the education of fine young men from privileged families". "How come young "Jack", who was a rebel, suddenly in a Jesuit monastery?" Response. "Thats where well connected Catholics with proper financing, send their homosexual sons". "Jack, become career military and is married to the army! "After living together at uni and still sharing housing for years, do you really think they are just "roommates?" "why would young Jack want to live in the depraved Greenwich Village?' Response " Why do you think?" "i heard that Jacks best man, stayed at a near by hotel when he Jill, went on his honeymoon!" "who's he kidding by getting married?". I heard, his father told him he would be disinherited, if he didn't get married!" "Jack is paid well to keep away and only show up for "family" events, with a young lady on his arm. "Young ladies only are required to have 2 escorts at debutante parties, yet Jack is 30 and always has his "good friend and roommate" along when his mother sets him up with dates to escort to weddings and club dances!"
Raul Cabral
You know it's kinda strange, but I've met bisexual and even heterosexual men that see woman as a foreign creation in not just a physical but in a psychological aspect. Almost like they're from a different plant. I don't know if they had overly overbearing mothers, or past relationships that instilled this distrust and aloofness towards women. Almost like the life Arab men live today. Where women are forbidden but yet the men build these bonds of emotion and attractiveness with other men. But once you say 'gay'! They'll bail out!
DJ Academe
captions :(
debra Knight
Perdido Atlantic
All I know is I don’t eat anybody’s fish sandwich.
michael matyas
I couldn't care less who is gay or not! I am too busy making a living and tending to my own business!
So sex is a learned behavior in Sambia and create love. That's not genetic.
Sean Beckett
Guys, go check out Grero on Youtube, it does a great job at explaining homosexuality/bisexuality in history, nature and human cultures and how there are actually many homosexualities, not just the form we recognize today. It is absolutely fascinating. Seriously, search for Grero on Youtube, it is very enlightening.
Vee Israel
Broke back mountain.A love story about gay men.
chaotic age
i wanna stay with Daddy!
Aikane De la Hay
We are born the way we are. Culture has influence, but it can't change how we are born
Cailla Mass
You also forgot to mention that it appeared in the Gomora tribe...
Thomas Dykstra
"Carbonized conscience! Available wherever the Good Book is burned."
Snake Was Right
This is literally the big gay
why do so much modern men have such weak voices?
william filiciello
Soy boys do exist.
Viggo Smiles
Anders Liljevall
Among the vikings there were a kind of elite warriors who lived together with their lovers and obviously were very respected. Quite like in greece. I just want to mention it.
And at Amazon.
It is the norm for 2 reasons. There is Much food scarcity in those Hunter groops. Too Many babies and starvation becomes a problem. Groups better not become too large to sustain themselves. The women are abducted from other tribes to prevent inbreeding. The tribes are most of the time in conflict with eachother. So you are literally sleeping with the enemy to have kids.
Charles Miller
The Homocratic party won with Obama and that will be the last time...
Domonique Fuller
Great video
Muriel Oduro
Pls only talk about ur own and how it was forced on blacks men in slavery.. buck braking.
Asher schmidt
Indeed women are dangerous
Gay relationships were common and accepted in Hawaiian culture. Then the Christian missionaries came and brought all the guilt, shame and condemnation.
Interesting - thank u
william filiciello
Woman And beta males are attracted to real men.
Fj Jb
John Brown
Interesting to know. And it's always nice to hear a positive message.
Doug L
Homosexuality is normal everywhere...the question is is it acceptable?!!!!!
Michael Mallal
Same sex marriage is legalized now in Australia.
Allan Richardson
Regarding the culturally sanctioned “third gender,” the writers of the “Alien Nation” TV series of the 1990s (a spinoff of the movie, in which an alien slave ship crashes in the Mojave desert, stranding thousands of humanoid ET slaves on Earth, and human society in LA has to find a way to assimilate them), introduced a biologically NECESSARY third gender into the aliens’ backstory. The lead alien characters are a Tenctonese (I never read any scripts, so I’m spelling these words phonetically) couple with a teenage daughter and preteen son. Over the course of the series, in which the husband is a detective partnered with an initially anti alien human cop, the couple decide to have a third child. The story line reveals that a Tenctonese character whose behavior and personality are similar to our openly gay men is actually a Bina’am, whose mating with a couple is necessary for them to conceive. The Franciscos call on this same Bina’am who helped them to conceive their other children, to “catalyze his sperm.” The Bina’am do not marry or have romantic pairings (maybe not even with one another), and live in groups like human monks. Their role in the Tenctonese society is to help couples to conceive wanted children, also becoming like Godparents or uncles to the children as they grow up. I figure the writing staff included some then-closeted gay men who knew about societies with gay shamans. There were probably some feminists on the writing staff also, since a fetus was transferred from the mother’s womb to the father’s marsupial-like pouch about halfway through the pregnancy, and the father then gave birth. Even cultures with the same biology can be quite varied, so if our biology were different, we would expect to have even more variety in cultures than we have now.
Lion Altroz
Um.. you had me until you added the kids in the game. Like eeww
In ancient Greece there was a similar tradition. Not something I would endorse.
Kevin McMahon
In older cultures, gay men were still part of the warrior class, but they stayed at home while the rest of the men went out hunting, or to have their own rituals away from the womenfolk. They could be trusted with the girls, for there was honor at stake. If on return, a wife found out their husband was killed, the only true emotional comfort they could genuinely have was in the embrace of the gay warriors of the tribe. Gay warriors were there to fend off strangers and other foes. Gay tribe members were part of the survival traits of their community, for that was the most important thing. See this TedX story of a family who loved their gay son. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Khn_z9FPmU
Eugene Clignett
yes i do find women scarry, give me a sausage any day
Phantasy Starved
Hopefully there would be a lot less humans breeding, of which I wholeheartedly support.
this video is freaking me out.
Lariah the FATHER's Apostle
The God and the devil both have figured it out for you already; neither one of them will put up with a homosexual in Heaven or in hell. Remain in peace brothers and sisters remain in peace...
Ann Archie
The evolutionary sense of homosexuality is easily explained. First, all animals above a certain brain size have it, because it is probably imposible to form a very complex social structure without that additional way of bonding. That would mean that the best evolutionary solution was bisexuality, which is why scientific research since Kinsey shows that the majority of the world's population has desires for both sexes, though often doesn't dare to put it to practice. However, that would mean that pure homosexuality was a type of "failed biosexuality. But there is also the "gay uncle"-phenomenon, which can also be seen all across nature. It means that individuals that don't have offspring of their own take great care of their relatives' children and do many things that strengthen the group at large, so that ultimately more young survive in the sum.
Clayton Tharp
Imagine the men of the amazon and New Guinea are more hip than western, especially USA men. They have the honesty and balls to do what they feel is right. USA men are brow beaten by women and families and accept that reality and usher in an unhappy relationship. Dudes, Come out! Come out!
Ancient Greece
Steve Shepherd
Interesting :-) we are, after all, probably the most social of all animal species, therefore homosexuality forms part of that being social. It isn’t actually a problem, it’s humans that create the problem.
Star Gould
I do have somewhat of a "orgasmic" reaction if I see a hetero-normative intercourse portrayed in pornos, et cetera... Of course, from female point-of-view 'cause that's my gender. I'm saying this assuming that that's like the general norm. So from what the Prof.'s saying it seems to be LGBTQ+ or people who decide to be homosexual are rather cerebral in their relationship than allowing their biological reaction to intervene when it comes down to choosing their mates. I wouldn't say that's exactly morally bad thing as long as both party are consenting and they keep their promise to each other, of course.. I just feel like putting it out there that that's not exactly what's defined as "Sexuality", it's more of an intimate relationship that imitates sexual behavior automatically practiced from hetero-normative beings. Like eunuchs comes charged with ample political meaning 'cause that has to do with individual-human rights on one's own body part than something biologically defined. I guess LGBTQ+ are rather close to Asexual individuals in a way, like how they practice literally "clean" or "inclusive" relationship than getting involved in affairs, et cetera. I could go on about this 'cause that's actually (& conscientiously) better than male-to-female relationship that comes with nasty risks like I mentioned above, but it's still contradicting to basic survival for the species itself 'cause same-sex relationship nor trans are not designed from the beginning to reproduce with their partners.
Bobby Allen
Homosexuality is normal down in the Montrose in Houston.
Thomas Lowdon
Why are people obsessed with the bible so much. You must do this or that because it says so in the bible.. Why is the bible the ruling of life.. Have we not got our own choices
Trump Card
Anthropology isn't about political action. Anthropology is the study of human societies ; it is not a political stance. Also, the study of other human societies and how differently they may treat gender/sexuality doesn't mean that a shift towards said approach to these matters could be operated in another society (without a tremendous amount of authoritarianism, for instance). Also also while anthropology is a great way to learn about other ways to organise particular aspects of a society doesn't mean you can implement those without implementing other aspects of the culture from which it originates, sometimes creating something way worse that one may have anticipated.
Steven DuVall
For some of us, being gay IS our biology. Also, there are many other species besides humans that have a certain percentage of homosexuality or same sex pair bonds.
Pawel Dudek
‘“ Men feeling like they were women “ - this reflects gender identity NOT sexual orientation.
Carole Landry
It's wrong for men to have sex with boys, in ancient Roman times and Also Greece men took advantage of boys that way
Robert Yi
This is a case of manipulating a occurance and applying to western world. That is proving nothing.
Xavier Chan
Sexual ambiguity among the Classical Greeks and Medieval Japanese can be seen as homosexual norm.
Michel Fradin
I am not straight, neither i am homosexual, nor bi-sexual, I am tri-sexual ...I try anything !
✨ I was confiding in a friend last Monday. I told him that my mother made me a homosexual. "Oooooh!" He retorted. "If I give her the wool, will she make me one?". Which way is out of here?
Ray Charron
If a woman is sucking the blood out if a man, they are doing it the wrong way.
So you're saying homosexuality is a choice.
Yasmine Dey
Homosexuality is not a choice, you are born that way! He makes it sound as if there is a choice and it just exist as men are afraid of women.
Tom thx
You should have been a catholic priest.
LGBT agenda.
They're also Cannibals, let's hear your rationalization for that....
Robert Mattfeldt
It is well accepted that millions among us are "Born Gay". But this fact does not disprove, nor preclude, the existence of learned or trained sexual orientation.
Dan Clark
Ok, lots of input from heteros, who only know what gay is by either a family member, friend, rumors. I know what gay is. I heard all from heteros long before there was an internet. Still see lots of comments on being gay as if those people are from very old times. I had no idea what being gay is other than my own perspective. I heard all the nasty rumors, very little compliments. I had to find out for myself. One day I ventured into the gay community. Nervous at first because of the rumors. Just as with heteros, there are not so good gay guys, and very good ones. Any sexual act not that dissimilar, oh yeah, I can know what some Hate-eros, will say, that it's not similar at all. The human body very much alike. You heteros know that. Men/women have almost all the same organs, outside much alike- head, shoulders, arms, legs, feet, posterior, etc. The differences are genitals, hormones. We all are of both sexes. Genes determine which gender to be. There are twins born, nit just of one gender, male and female twins. All of us formed of same flesh and blood. Hetero guys-half of you came from another man's penis. Ok? How do you hate that fact so much? Same for hetero females. Attraction is what's not understood. How many of us with siblings, born and raised in one family, have so various interests? One sibling will want to be of one career, the sibling interested in some other career because of something in each of us are attracted to different interests, hobbies. Same with sex attraction. Can't see why siblings have different interests, niether can sex attraction be seen.
Sally Bubbles
If New Guinea and "the Amazon" are used as a high and acceptable standard, I'l stay straight!
Proud to be straight.
Everybody is entitled to think about this subject in the best way he can, but nobody is entitled to impose to others his personal morality or religion. Nothing is gained here by pointing what is "normal" or "natural", and what isn´t, because most people ignore the true meanings of this concepts in the diferent levels of scientific or philosophical knowledge, and even ignore what is normal in the natural world of the animal kingdom. They only have a vague, imprecise idea inherited by their (small) cultural world, frecuently from their church. Saying that anal intercourse is not the natural way to penetrate is like saying that kissing is not natural since animals do not kiss, and the mouth and lips were "made" with other purposes (eat and speak), the same about oral sexual intercourse and so on. By the way, the mouth also have many germs, altought not as much. And, by all the evidence, humanity always had homosexuals, so it must be something "natural", only a thing stigmatizated by unnatural religions which stigmatizate and make a sin of almost all kind of natural sexuality, like masturbating.
Liza Cyno
GROSS! The poor new Guniea women!
Cailla Mass
Well, i think that in order to make a wise decision about a matter we have to take in consideration all the evidence available about the latter, and in its righteous context and not cherry picking the literature that best suites our point of view...
Ken Bigglesworth
Clearly there is homosexuality everywhere it is normal so much of it is normal but to think its more normal than straight people or even as normal as straight people is a lie and suicidal only straight men keep the species alive clearly thats the truth .....and while women are truly evil and scary lol...but that pussy mmmmm and uh guys are ugly gross women are pretty soft evil lol thats true but ill keep dancin with the devil lol gimmee the vagina ....and uh men arent making love with men theyre just getting off in a gross way
Shirlee Bostrom
Micheal Jackson thought like this guy!😂
Connor Amlee
The topic in my international relations class today was about the gender imbalance in India and China. I think that these countries are going to have to start embracing and encouraging homosexual relationships among platonic peers to reduce sexual aggravation and crime in young single men. Regardless of how "natural" you may think it is, if it was more socially acceptable for them to be partners with their same-sex colleagues they'd at least have some way to satisfy themselves in the lack of a wife.
Great video to show how homophobes are dummies.
Lance Lessard
"Heterosexuals aren't normal. They're merely common." --- Dorothy Parker.
Brendan Butler
And in some cultures they used to sacrifice people so that there would be a good harvest, so maybe we should also bring that back?
Suzie Wheeler
No where
Thomas Lampon-Masters
Thank you for trying to normalise my sexuality through primitivism, misogyny and implied paedophilia and seeking some kind of pseudo-scientific explanation for it while at the same time distancing yourself from it.
Cathy Latorre
This is gross extremely gross really bad who is trying to convince it look like the most insecure person on the planet
We are not slaves to our biology...we are not biological automatons like rodents, insects, birds, other mammals, etc. Sexuality in conscious human reality is completely and utterly EVOLVED from the lower life forms on the planet. We evolved in everything...sexuality, consciousness, etc. You can't equate ANY human being with a beast. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are the SAME in the human experience. Reducing human being to nothing more than INSTINCT (ONLY to have babies) on a sexual level is preposterous. HUMANS HAVE EVOLVED BEYOND THIS THINKING.
B for the people not the elites!
Utter nonsense.
Man plus woman is what is normal. You can tell from the anatomy.
"And also, in Prisons, homosexuality is accepted as are extensive tatoo art, and therefore makes evolutionary sense."
Mac Clift
In other words, men were allowed to abuse young boys!
Yus Yusman
its not norm ,👅
Joshua B
Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman PERIOD. There is nothing paleo about it. Gay or lesbian families are dysfunctional period. Don't tell me otherwise. There is nothing futuristic or progressive about sodomy. Lets get ahead in this world by retaining our core values that got us where we are in the first place instead of backslide like Rome did when it fell.
The casual wrapping of pedophilia into this supposedly positive "open minded view on homosexuality" only served to totally unravel the already shaky aim of this conversation.
I once worked with a guy who said that when he was young, he worked on a watermelon farm. He said it was taught to him and practiced by others, to cut a hole in a melon, and enjoy it's moist, soft insides. Afterwards, they just placed the plug back into the hole. The list of inanimate sex objects is endless, with animals, vegetables, people, carved holes, blunt objects, jars, towels and on and on. Moral: Check your melons when buying them.
ArrrToo Deetoo
This is why a Libertarian society is the only civilized way to live religion /government and business need to be regulated to some degree and certain groups need to have power ripped away from them
Brian Frumps
Whos this snow flake
Angela Bender
Homosexuality is less than 2% but they are good at advertisement Women who do not see the enemy in gays are idiotic and blind: Nothing offends fermale decorum and their valued position within the family as extramarital pederastic adventures
Robert Burke III
anybody thinks that homosexuality is not normal was the old normal and you wait until the next two or three generations get here the next normal is going to be bestiality Adolf Hitler did what was normal Stalin did what was normal be normal people it's just what you feel and all of us know something's not quite right. And if you think God through Jesus Christ accepts RBS your mistake and you will be mistaken for eternity one day. Don't believe me
Little Kiwi
From the point of evolution I disagree: we should be moving toward more homosexuality as the number of human beings is impossible for the earth to sustain.